In light of recent Supreme Court decisions, I wonder what the implications will be, what changes to our society. I see fractioning and polarization. Fear-based responses, anger-based reactions. And yet, despite the possible societal changes, there are things personally that I dare not change. I will choose to continue to seek and follow the example of Christ, loving God, loving others. One of my favorite life verses is, “ And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and dwelled (tabernacled, fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.” John 1:14 Amplified
John’s use of the Greek ‘tabernacled’, suggests to me several things.
– The tabernacle was designed and purposed to be the visible, earthly ‘housing’ of the Shekinah glory of God. As am I.
– The tabernacle was a temporary structure, not separate from, but nestled among, alongside, and within the community, thus by its presence and purpose impacting it. As am I.
– The glory/splendor of the presence of God served to guide, comfort and be an identifying mark of the people gathered by Him. As am I.
Christ became flesh for many reasons, but stated here, tabernacled and dwelled among us SO THAT we could see and experience the glory of God, literally in-the-flesh. SO THAT we could behold – ‘contemplate, observe intently, especially to interpret something (grasp its significance).. so as to impact (influence) the viewer.’* Jesus was on display, as the manifest glory, majesty, goodness, and splendor of the Almighty Creator Father God.
What set Him apart in their eyes? He came full of grace and truth. Full – focused, undistracted, purely permeated, abounding in and completely occupied with:
– Grace – favor and kindness. The Greek renders it: ‘freely extended to give Himself away to people; favor, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit“) and
– Truth – ‘not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness.* [Personal side note: It doesn’t state He came full of grace and law, which was already given – 17 ‘For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.’ The ‘supernatural-becoming-natural’ reality of morally, internally living out of law is truth. ‘In ancient Greek culture, (aletheia) was synonymous for “reality” as the opposite of illusion*. Hmm, could the illusion be in determining which laws to follow and/or enforce upon others, or possibly having an external image of a law-abider, rather than internally embracing the principle at heart-truth level?]
Jesus came – demonstrating the love of God, declaring and freely living and revealing the Truth of God, displaying the works of God. He did so inclined toward others, leaning toward them, not standing with arms crossed and fingers pointed. Not calculating who deserved it. Nor shrinking back, but embracing others with grace, embracing the fullness of truth (for isn’t He the Truth – that sets us free? Free from the bondage of self, of sin, of shame, of Satan’s deception?) I believe it was His compassion toward others that provided the environment for His authority to declare the Truth among them. Imagine being confronted with the promise and hope found in solid, eternal Truth, delivered by His face of compassion. He was loving and gracious – and simultaneously real, boldly living and proclaiming the truth. Not acting on His own behalf, but God’s. Not in His own name, but in the name of the Father.
‘Truth’ delivered in an army tank is generally sent from self-centeredness – centered on fear, pride, judgment, desire for control. And elicits the same defensive and/or offensive posture in the receiver. The message gets lost. Can truth really be packaged this way?
The message of Truth delivered in a florist vehicle – or even just an ordinary, everyday vehicle – is an invitation, not a threat of attack. And is more likely to be received, no matter what the outcome.
And as He was called to do this, so am I.
As He was sent and commissioned, so am I.
As people experienced the glory of God wrapped in flesh, inclined toward them through His life, so I, too, am God-in-the-flesh to others. Not my own ideas and words, but only those He speaks. Not my actions, but only as I see Him act. Just like Him. So others can see Him too. And can see His glory!
I wonder what would happen if the people in our world were to behold and capture the glory and presence of God among them through His children, truly leaning toward them with favor and spiritual blessing, sharing the glorious truth that frees and releases life with God towards them? Now is the time to be that incliner and leaner – inclined toward and leaning on God, leaning toward others, permeated distinctively with both favor and truth. Joyfully living the Truth of God, demonstrating the love of God, displaying the works of God.
So be it, Lord.
*HELPS Word studies